Tag Archives: Wacky Stickers

Classic Monster Trading Cards: Topps Creature Feature

You’ll Die Laughing With These Glorious Bubble Gum Cards

TOPPS Creature Feature Trading Card Deck

By now, most of you readers know I am a 1970s Monster Kid.  While Monster Mania was to end by the end of that decade, the early 70s was still a wonderland of phantasmagoric merchandise.  By 1973, I was 7 years old, well on my way to Monster Kid-dom,  and one of my favorite places in the world was the local Get-n-Go convenience store.  The comic book spinner rack was a treasure trove of excitement, the latest issue of Famous Monsters was usually on the magazine stand and then there were the bubble gum cards!   

From Wacky Stickers, to Planet of the Apes and eventually to Star Wars,  bubble gum cards held me in rapture for a decade, and in many ways they still do.   The height of that rapture was Topps Creature Feature cards.  It was like Famous Monsters with bubble gum! Each package a mystery with cards featuring pun-filled jokes and marvelous movie still from movies I had yet to see!

Topps Creature Feature Trading Cards

Released in 1973, Topps Creature Feature cards featured licensed black and white movie stills from the classic Universal Studios and American International Studios. 

Series 1 included cards 1-64:

                               Card #34:   Topps Creature Feature Card #34 1st Series   Topps Creature Feature Card Back #34 First Series   Series 2 includes cards #65-128

                                Card #66: Topps Creature Feature Card 2nd Series #66 Mole People                                 Back:Topps Creature Feature 2nd Series #66 Card Back                               Card #78:Topps Creature Feature Series 2 #78

Topps Creature Feature Card #78 2nd Series

The back of the cards used the same “You’ll Die Laughing” headline and purple illustrated border as the original 1959 Funny Monsters cards and included a marginally funny monster joke.

Because of this, all three Topps card sets, from 1959 to 1980, are often referred to as You’ll Die Laughing cards.  That title most appropriately refers to the 1959 Topps Funny Monsters cards which  featured illustrations of monsters rather than licensed movie stills.  Not only did Topps use the same headline and border in all three series, they used the same corny jokes in both 1973 and 1980 series as had originally run in 1959!

We’ll cover those wonderful Funny Monsters 1959 cards in a future article.

Topps Reissued Creature Feature in 1980

Largely a reissue of the 1973 Topps You’ll Die Laughing set with many of the same images and captions, about 33% of the 1980 cards were new images, but the primary difference is the wrapping:

1980 Topps Trading Cards Creature Features PackagingAs well as the addition of color borders to the 88-card set, which is helpful determine the set these cards belong to:

1980 Topps Creature Feature trading cards

1980 Topps Creature Feature sets included one of 22 stickers in each package  Labeled “The Monster Hall of Fame,” these  stickers are quite inexpensive and easy to track down.

Topps 1980 Creature Feature Sticker Mr Hyde

Topps Creature Features Monster Hall of Fame Stickers 1980

Base sets are affordable as well.  For collectors on a budget, the 1980 cards are a less expensive place to start collecting.

Collecting Monster Trading Cards

Creature Feature cards from 1973 and 1980 series are quite easy to find both as single cards and in lots.  It may take a bit if effort to piece together the entire series as lots often are incomplete.  But with time and diligence, assembling a full series is very doable.

Single cards usually range from $1 -$2 and sets are usually in the same per-card price range times the number of cards included in the lot.  It is common to find complete display boxes for the 1980 series, though much less common to find 1973 sealed display boxes.

Interestingly, many of the original 1973 proofs are currently listed on eBay for fixed price of $320 each.  It’s a really unique collectible, but it would obviously be quite an investment to piece together a large collection of these

Here’s an example:

Topps Creature Feature #4 Proof

Certificate of Authentic Topps Creature Feature Proof

Worth taking a look, and a really unique monster collectible for the right collector!  Click here to see all the Topps Creature Feature cards currently listed on eBay

Monster Card Collecting Resources

More more in-depth information about Topp’s Creature Feature Trading Cards and collecting trading cards in general, I highly recommend these resources:

Did you collect these cards in your Monster youth? Do you still? Share your memories – and your collections – with us!

Jaws Collectibles – Parodies & Knock-Offs

Jaws Collectibles – Parodies and Knock-Offs

We’ve been exploring Jaws collectibles and movie memorabilia for the last week or so and I thought it would be fun to take a look at some of those items that rode the wave of Jaws success, albeit unofficially.

Unlicensed merchandise is nothing new in the world of pop culture.  It’s almost guaranteed that anything successful will be quickly copied, imitated, blatantly ripped off as well as parodied.  The immense commercial success of Jaws at the box office made it a licensing bonanza, but the nature of the subject matter made it quite easy for unlicensed companies to jump on the money machine.  After all, Universal Studios couldn’t exactly license Great White Sharks!

By the summer of 1976, sharks were showing up on everything imaginable, from beach towels to t-shirts,  from rack toys to magazine covers.

In this post, we’ll take a look at some of the more impactful Jaws parodies and knock-offs.

Mr. Jaws & Other Fables by Dickie Goodman

Who doesn’t remember this silly song?

Dickie Goodman released the first cut-in parody record in 1956 called The Flying Saucers Part 1 & 2.  Almost twenty years later, he was still at it with his parody of Jaws.   This record sold over 1MM copies and hit #4 on the Billboard Top 40 in 1975.

Check out this really interesting article about Mr. Goodman and his cut-in records at 7 inches of 70s Pop blog.

Mr Jaws ‘sampled’ 13 hit songs, including the Theme from Jaws by John Williams.  None of the artists sampled received a penny in royalties from the sales of Mr Jaws.  On the album version of Mr. Jaws, both “Please Mr. Please” and “Rhinestone Cowboy” were replaced by re-recorded budget sound-alike renditions.

I had this album, along with others like Goofy Greats which I played incessantly in those days.  I thought these songs were hysterical.  While it’s fun to hear it again after all these years, I’m honestly not sure what I found so funny about it…

Almost hard to call this album a collectible given that the vinyl album sells for $10 and the single for less than $5 on eBay.  There are a number of current listings on eBay for both the single and the album all reasonably priced.

 Mad Magazine #180 (January 1976)

Mad Magazine Jaws Cover 1976 This cover was painted by Mort Kunstler who adopted the pseudonym “Mutz” out of content that doing a cover for MAD would hurt his career.  This is the only cover he ever did for the magazine, even though the publisher asked him to do all future covers after this one turned out so well.  Steven Spielberg now owns the original painting for this cover.

These are pretty easy to get your hands on and a number are currently available on eBay.  Recent eBay sales range in price from $3.99 – $6.99 for copies in VG condition and there are a number of current listings on eBay

Topps Wacky Packages

Jaws Spoof Wacky Sticker Gums

Wacky Packages were stickers released by Topps Chewing Gum Company beginning in 1967 that parodied common household products as well as popular culture.  They were immensely popular with kids in the 1970s.

Each pack contained 2 stickers, a piece of gum and a checklist.  The Wacky Packages parody of Jaws, called “Gums”  was part of the 15th series, which Topps released in July 1975.

Wacky Packages 15th Series Checklist

Wacky Packages have surged in collectibility in recent years and ‘Gums’ single cards can easily demand $15-$20 for a high-grade card.  A current listing on eBay starts at $16.99.

Knock-offs & Unlicensed Merchandise

Jaws Unlicensed Gumball Stickers

Here’s a great example of an unlicensed product that went so far as to even use the name ‘jaws’ but keeping it just generic enough by tagging the word ‘shark’ in front.  This was a bubble gum machine display card and a nice copy Recently Sold on eBay for $12

I was 9 years old when Jaws was released and I spent my summers at the beach in South Carolina.  I remember sharks being imprinted on just about everything for those few summers after the film was released.

What was your favorite piece of Jaws merchandise, official or otherwise?